Research suggests that one of the leading causes of teachers leaving their jobs is the frustrations they experience in the classroom due to the absence of moral and ethical values in the students. Most schools’ primary focus is academics with little or no emphasis on the holistic development of the learners. When schools fail to meet students’ physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs, they behave in unacceptable and inconsiderate ways. Misbehavior disrupts the classroom environment and deteriorates students’ academic performance. Moreover, students’ unruly behavior demotivates the teachers. Instilling moral and ethical values is as essential as teaching other subjects. Therefore, Educators need to teach and embed morals and ethics into everyday classroom routines and school curriculums to help develop internal solid values and confidence among learners. Additionally, schools need to create environments conducive to nurturing moral and ethical behavior in students.
Here are some valuable strategies to inculcate moral and ethical behavior in learners.
Incorporating ethics in professional development
Teachers often face ethical dilemmas in their classrooms that are complicated and lead to ethical challenges. Educators are expected to behave ethically, although many have not benefited from acquiring a professional degree or training in their teacher preparation programs, leading to ethical preparedness in the classroom. Instead, they deal with ethical issues based on their personal experiences and beliefs. Schools should offer structured professional development opportunities and support teachers in getting degrees such as Educational Psychology Degree to develop an understanding of various frameworks and sharpen their own decision making. A degree in psychology would enable teachers to examine the learning process’s emotional, cognitive, and social aspects, providing added expertise to engage students better and shape them into successful critical thinkers. Therefore, schools must assist educators in gaining the skills to generate and evaluate decisions as they face familiar and unfamiliar ethical dilemmas in their future professional lives.
Integrating Ethics in the School Curriculum
Schools are invested with the responsibility of developing the moral character of their students. School leaders and teachers are responsible for creating a curriculum that teaches ethical and moral values and other subjects. Eductors should design curriculum objectives and suggest activities that promote ethical behavior. The curriculum should assist teachers in conducting classroom activities and using curriculum content to help learners understand the importance of ethical behavior. The curriculum should support teachers in guiding them to utilize teaching methodologies to promote learners’ self-development and moral awareness. It should include clear academic and behavioral goals and have a discipline policy that supports the character goals of the schools.
Moreover, schools must provide adequate time and resources to evaluate and refine curriculum content that is favorable in instilling moral and ethical behavior. Finally, curriculum designers must take teachers on board while creating the curriculum content to include content that suits their students’ needs in developing moral and ethical values.
Fostering an ethical school culture
Creating an ethical culture in the classroom is one way to develop students’ moral and ethical behavior. Class displays and bulletin boards reinforce such values. Schools should have a philosophy statement clearly outlining character expectations for all members of the school community posted prominently and as a visible part of school life. The teachers should post the statement in the classroom and regularly direct students’ attention toward it.
Additionally, involve learners in creating a list of class rules and school rules. They will identify the school’s moral values leading to ownership and a sense of belonging. When students feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to obey and respect the school and classroom rules. In addition, they will understand the difference between right and wrong.
Furthermore, teachers can model acceptable and ethical behavior to help learners observe, recognize and adopt those behaviors. They need to communicate moral and ethical values and beliefs and dedicate sufficient time to establish and reinforce those beliefs with their learners. Hence, educators must learn about and commit to instructional and behavioral practices that establish an ethical school culture and demonstrate character traits and habits that support the school philosophy and goals. They need to advocate a culture that embraces and promotes the core values of respect, honesty, integrity, and a shared sense of responsibility.
Engaging Learners in Community Service
Community service projects prove exceedingly helpful in providing students with the opportunity to become active members of their community. Involving learners in such projects has a lasting and positive impact on society. It enables students to gain life skills and knowledge and instill ethical behavior. Community service projects raise awareness and help learners understand their moral and ethical responsibility towards other people in their community. These projects cultivate the critical life skills of compassion, empathy, and humility in learners. Educators should organize community service projects to prepare students to become enlightened citizens who can participate in society with dignity, sensitivity, and wisdom.
Volunteerism also alters the way learners view and think about other people by bringing them into contact with people they might otherwise never get to know. As a result, these experiences enhance students’ moral sensitivity and expand their moral community. Therefore, involving students in community service is an effective way of enhancing students’ personal, social and moral development and academic performance.
In conclusion, schools play a fundamental role in instilling moral and ethical behavior in students. Educators can foster moral and ethical values through a range of teaching strategies. For example, schools can effectively promote ethical values by integrating moral and ethical learning in the curriculum and by supporting teachers by providing them with sufficient training and professional development opportunities; schools can effectively promote ethical values. Establishing an ethical culture across the school also benefits students in their character development.
Moreover, encouraging learners to volunteer for community service is another practical means of nurturing students’ personal and moral development and academic performance. Most importantly, educators serve as role models for students during their moral development. As a result, students imitate moral and ethical behaviors and transition to ethical decision-making throughout their lives.